How long does our church need to keep attendance records?

  |   07/10/18

The recent Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse is impacting many aspects of how we do Safe Ministry, and record keeping is one of those areas.

A common question is how long do we have to keep attendance records and similar documentation.

The new recommendation is:
A copy of permission slips, records of attendance and other such data that you collect should be kept securely at the church for at least 45yrs (as recommended by the Royal Commission) but ideally would be kept indefinitely. You may choose to scan this information to save it electronically (then carefully dispose of the paper documents).
When storing information that contains sensitive data (such as permission forms) you should consider the following:

  • The file(s) should only be accessible to people with a genuine ‘need to know’
  • Multiple backups should be made and securely stored in different locations. Strong passwords must be used.
  • Create a standardised approach to storing and backing up all electronic Safe Ministry data

Given the space issues with keeping paper copies of such documents over such a long time, we recommend that a protocol be developed to scan any paper documents to a format such as PDF and carefully filed and backed up.
This should be carefully and conservatively thought through to take into account the unique challenges of storing electronic data for that long.